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    Joined: Sep 2016
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    Emigee Offline OP
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    I seem to read of a lot of situations where the child and parents want a grade acceleration, but the school denies it for one reason or another. We are kind of in the opposite situation. The school is offering for my son to skip 1st grade next year. While they aren't exactly pushing it, we're getting the strong sense that they think it's the right move. The parents are somewhat ambivalent but agree it's a no-brainer in terms of better meeting said child's academic needs, and are pretty confident that he would also be fine socially (at least in the short term). Any ambivalence we have stems from him already being young for grade and very small for age, which we worry could make things difficult for him socially a few years down the road.

    There are several major pros to doing this, including one that has to do with doing it now rather than later:
    *He is functioning at 2nd grade or higher level in all academic areas already, even including fine motor/handwriting. There won't be much for him to learn in 1st grade. He is already getting the idea that school should always be easy.
    *He would likely have an instructional group in the classroom for reading and possibly writing in his new grade. Right now, the only truly on-level reading/writing instruction he gets is one-on-one weekly pull out.
    *Most importantly, he has been going to first grade for math all year, he does fine socially there, and he already has a peer group and several friends (none close) in that grade. We think this would be the easiest time to make the transition because of this. Unfortunately he is still a classroom isolate in terms of math, though (hence the next point).
    *Next year he will need to accelerate in math again, moving to a 3rd grade classroom, so if he doesn't make the whole grade skip now he won't have another chance at moving up along with peers that he knows from math class.

    Our son, however, is very much against the idea. This seems to be more of a reflex reaction rather than based on any particular concerns, as far as we can tell (he just turned 6 and is not great at expressing his feelings). The only thing specific he has said is that he thinks the work might be too hard (we just completed an extensive testing process which showed him functioning similarly to an average 2nd-5th grader, depending on the subject, so we are quite confident this will not be the case!). We as parents agree that we would not pursue a grade skip at this time if he continues to feel this way. He's the one who has to live it. However, I am considering gently pushing him to explore the idea more before accepting this decision. Specifically, right now he already attends first grade for math every day. I would like him to spend a day (or more) visiting/shadowing the whole day in first grade. He's already comfortable in the classroom and with the teachers, so it doesn't seem like too much to ask. I think he might potentially see that he can easily do the work and get along with the kids for the whole day, and thus be more comfortable just staying with this group of first graders as they go into second grade next year. If not, we won't force it, but it would be nice for him to be going on something more solid than a knee-jerk reaction.

    Does this sound reasonable to you all? He was against it when I floated the idea, but he could probably be bribed (er, I mean incentivized). Also, I'd love to hear any stories from others who had kids who were reluctant to grade skip, whether you ended up doing it or not, and how it turned out. I do want to listen to my kid, but it's also a big decision to leave in the hands of a barely 6 year old.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback or insights.

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    Until my kids were in middle school I didn't really give them a whole lot in of input into the decisions we made for them academically. Of my 4 kids the older 3 have been approached and 2 of them have grade skipped.

    I have 4 kids and the oldest skipped a couple of grades (will graduate HS at 14) and heading to GA Tech this summer and thanks to dual enrollment will be a junior. He never fought us on the grade skips (he had many) but was disappointed when he was unable to play for the high school baseball team this current year. It is a long story but the short version is I pulled him out of the high school and he became a home school student because the HS wouldn't sign off on the dual enrollment forms for the classes he needed. Nobody argued (school, my son or me) regarding the courses needed but the downstream effect was he wasn't eligible to play baseball. Amazingly despite being young he is a great athlete and did beat out a lot of much older kids last year for his one year at the high school and made JV. Lessons learned here for us - Grade skipping does require sacrifices but the benefits for at least my kid outweighed that (took courses appropriate to him, got 2 years of college done through a double course load + summer school). Socially he has done fine but we keep him in other activities a few hours a week with age appropriate kids. We have no regrets.

    My second son is 12yo in 7th grade. He like my older son was course level accelerated. Believe it there are schools where kids are moved fluidly by subjects as well as grade level and this is the norm. In these environments a 3rd grader in 6th grade math or a 5th grader in 7th LA is just normal. You may look for these kind of programs as it limits the concerns your child may have about fitting in. This year my son took mostly 8th, 9th and 10th grade classes and only had 2 7th grade classes. Logistically it was challenging for us moving him between the MS and HS but it worked. Socially he has done fine. The middle school pushed for a grade skip several times but we only recently agreed because we were worried about physical development. This son is on track to be a D1 baseball recruit and we didn't want to harm his chances by him graduating at 16 from HS. After a lot of thought we have been convinced his athletic potential will happen regardless and we shouldn't hold him back academically. He will skip 8th and go to 9th at the HS full time next year, which improves logistics and opens doors for AP classes he couldn't have taken as an 8th grader for college credit. He did not push back because he understood the big picture and we discussed in much detail - pros and cons. We also sought advice from the school district administrators, his travel baseball academy, former MLB players, etc. Who knows if he will make it anywhere with baseball but I wanted to be thoughtful and not reckless with the decision. If he had said no with any reasonable clear argument I would not have pushed him. At 12 we treat him like an adult but would not have been so inclusive with the decision if he was 6.

    My 10yo is a 4th grader and we were approached by her magnet public school to skip. She is up a grade in math and science. She was actually excited when we told her but my husband and I decided to decline for now. The reason is there is no rush and she is being allowed subject level acceleration and not being held back academically. She spends much of her day at grade level and some above. Logistically she is able to stay in her school all day and get that. By the time she gets to middle school (7th/8th) she will be further advanced and logistics will get more complicated for us.
    We may consider a grade skip at that time because she is tracking to have 1.5yrs of HS credit before she gets to HS. When we told her she wasn't skipping she actually was upset especially since she has seen her older brothers do it. I explained the reasons and she let it go.

    My younger son (8) is in the private gifted program where his older siblings started and getting subject level acceleration. He will likely go to 5th grade math next year as a 3rd grader. He is testing now to skip 4th. Many students are fluid up grades at his school so totally normal and the teachers/administrators support and encourage customization as the child needs it.

    If your kid isn't really getting what he needs then a grade skip makes a lot of sense. Especially since you say socially he will be fine. My oldest son definitely coasted early in elementary because we hadn't yet found the gifted private school where customization was being done. Just my 2 cents. At 6 the brain isn't developed and the child can't really understand the complexities of a decision like this. As the parent you know what is best and know your kid and what he can handle and how he will succeed. If you have to incentivize so be it. We have pulled those cards too for various things with our kids. Positioning it as this will happen and here are the steps to make the transition go well (e.g. shadowing, review some upper grade material over the summer, etc...) is what I would do. Not yes or no. Going out of your way to allow him to still do fun things with friends his age via sports, after school play dates and so forth may also help. It is hard to move on and leave friends behind but that happens in life all the time. Good luck.

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    We decided against having our now DS12 skip 4th grade and go directly into a gifted program starting in 5th. The fact that he said he did not want to because he wanted to stay with his friends was a major reason, but not the only reason - we the parents agreed that he shouldn’t.

    The tester recommended it and the scores would have made it a no brainer. Everyone else who knew him in „real life“ was against. He was already accelerated (entered early into K) and the first acceleration had been the perfect „everyone on board“ kind. Even his preschool teachers, who as a rule firmly came down on the side of redshirting for every child they had ever seen, agreed he needed to go to school. This time, his teachers were adamantly against, because he had just about found his feet socially in his current class and they were worried he’d struggle even harder being so much younger. For him, friends aren’t people who come and go, but people he has struggled hard in his life to acquire and keeps struggling to keep. Not making this bit even harder for him was a rational decision on his side at the age of 8, that we supported. (There were more reasons I am not going to write out because they are not relevant to your question, but you can check back on a recent post of mine if you want).

    Knowing that he’d only have to sit through elementary school academics for another year (and that was bad enough - we had weeks with crying jags every morning) and would then be able to continue in a gifted classroom helped. That one hasn’t been all roses either, and I am very glad he is at least in the middle of the age group there and not one of the youngest (the youngest struggles badly). Dear me, the socially astute gifties in a classroom can be brutal!

    On the other hand, a friends kid refused for almost two years to be accelerated because she had seen her accelerated older brother struggle with being bullied and rejected throughout his elementary years. The teachers had basically wanted her to skip within days of starting school. Tall, bright, socially astute, but never really part of the class, her best friend my DD who was at this point two grades ahead, everyone agreed she needed to skip. This spring, the parents and teachers agreed to simply force the issue. They put the kid into third and told her to stick it out for two weeks and if she hated it, she could go back. Needless to say, she relaxed within days and is so much happier - and middle school, with its tracking options, is one year closer.

    While I am all for letting kids choose, and choose more freely the older they are, they must choose between options thay the grown ups find acceptable. When our oldest had to pick a middle school track for fifth grade, we vetted the options and let him pick between the gifted track at one school and a high achievers track at another, both of which we thought could work academically, socially and logistically. If we felt an option could not work, we would have vetoed it.

    Funny story about schools flexible about year groups: I recently asked about a new kid that had started 7th grade with them, and DS12 laughed and said she’d been gone for months. Always keeping an ear out for social issues in the program, I asked what had happened. Nothing, he said, but it was decided within a few weeks that she should skip into 9th (middle and high schools are one program where we live). Turned out within another few weeks that 9th grade was too hard after all, so she dropped down to 8th, which, apparently, is just right for now.

    In your shoes, I’d decide on a good time for the skip together with the teacher, tell him to try it out full time for four weeks and see whether the issue even comes up after.





    Last edited by Tigerle; 04/26/19 01:27 AM.
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    A child's yay-or-nay vote on acceleration is important because a child embracing the grade skip can bring about success even through difficulty, and conversely a child rejecting the grade skip can guarantee failure, even though others may help ease the adjustment. Visiting/shadowing 1st grade for a full day is a great idea. smile You might also want to consider additional visiting/shadowing time in the 2nd grade classroom so he can meet the teacher, sample the work they are doing, etc. Once he sees the work is at his level and is interesting, he may convince himself of what parents and the school already know: that it is a good fit.

    Has your school used the Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS)? From your post it appears as though many of the discussion points documented in an IAS have been brought forward for consideration. Nonetheless, it can be helpful to have it all on paper, organized/arranged in an IAS, for future reference. The process of writing up an IAS for this decision may also help your son see that this is a wonderful opportunity, and a good fit for him.

    Some links on Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) -
    - Acceleration Institute: https://www.accelerationinstitute.org/Resources/IAS.aspx
    - Description on Davidson Database: http://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10053
    - Great Potential Press: https://www.greatpotentialpress.com/iowa-acceleration-scale-3rd-edition-complete-kit
    - NAGC powerpoint: http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/f...tion%20Making%20Informed%20Decisions.pdf
    - Hoagies' review: https://www.hoagiesgifted.org/iowa_accel_scale.htm

    Here's an old post with a pretty comprehensive roundup of acceleration discussions on the forums, over the years. Of particular interest may be anticipating the adjustments in future years (such as driving a year later than most grade-level peers). With plenty of conversation and managing expectations, families can help children navigate these differences with relative ease.

    There is good and bad in everything. While acceleration is not a panacea, for many children, it provides the least-worst educational fit.

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    There was much resistance to grade skipping, acceleration etc from my son when he was a kindergartener and all the way up to 4th grade. His anxiety and outright refusal came from worries that his current classmates might forget him and that he wanted to continue meeting those kids outside school for playdates and concerns that he might lose the camaraderie he experienced, sitting with familiar faces all day long. Another reason was that he was already in the 1st grade classroom for core subjects and he sensed that skipping a grade or two in that school would not meet his needs.
    We changed schools (for many reasons, the skip being one of them) and I took him to shadow other schools and he saw that there were other kids who liked the same things as him and maybe he might fit well. He was also fascinated by the curriculum discussions that he sat through with admissions directors when they explained what their education philosophy was. We told him that no matter what, we, as parents, would ensure that he got the education that he needed even if he stayed at his current school with his friends and we had to afterschool to meet his needs.
    He decided that a skip was OK if he moved schools. Now, he wonders why he was so resistant to the change as he is well adjusted and happy. Most young kids think the world of their classrooms and their peers (as they should) and any change to that setting tends to make them uncomfortable. But, if they acclimate to the new surroundings and feel that they can fit in, they are comfortable with the change.
    Also, around 4th grade, self-awareness and maturity kicked in and he told me that he wanted more challenges and would not hesitate at a grade skip any longer if it was brought up to him.
    My suggestion would be that you arrange for shadowing the 2nd grade class for a day or two so that he is able to see for himself what the content is, how the teachers teach the subjects and interact with students etc. That would give your son something to look forward to when he evaluates his 2nd grade year.

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    Originally Posted by indigo
    You might also want to consider additional visiting/shadowing time in the 2nd grade classroom so he can meet the teacher, sample the work they are doing, etc. Once he sees the work is at his level and is interesting, he may convince himself of what parents and the school already know: that it is a good fit.
    Single subject acceleration was a kind of "shadowing" for our child. She became used to hanging out with the older kids during those classes so when the full grade skip occurred it wasn't such a shock. DD was fine with a grade skip (4th grade) at that point.

    Originally Posted by indigo
    Has your school used the Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS)?
    As with many others, it certainly helped our family look at all facets of the proposed acceleration.

    Originally Posted by indigo
    acceleration is not a panacea, for many children, it provides the least-worst educational fit.

    Agreed. I have to echo what others state. It helped a bit, although we found it still wasn't enough. We are hoping next year's AP classes challenge DD. Both daughters were pulled out for gifted group work in middle school and elementary which was gifted "lite", more social than in depth work.

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    Can you just say "the school has placed you in this class". Once one of the kids in my son's class was moved from a composite grade 1/2 class to a more basic straight one class and my son just said the school decided he would be better in that class and the kids never though twice about it. In retrospect the kid had a lucky escape from that class but that is another story.

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    Originally Posted by Emigee
    Also, I'd love to hear any stories from others who had kids who were reluctant to grade skip, whether you ended up doing it or not, and how it turned out. I do want to listen to my kid, but it's also a big decision to leave in the hands of a barely 6 year old.

    Our DD ended up skipping two grades in all, 2nd and 6th. When we first approached her about skipping from 1st to 3rd grade, her initial reaction was to be against the skip. Since our IAS meeting was on the last day of the school year, we told DD that no decision was going to be made today. Instead she was to think about it and let us know if she had any questions and that we would talk about it in a month. Three weeks later, she came up to us and said she thought about it and decided she was ready.

    I'm glad she came around on her own, and for the second skip she was on board from the get go. We probably would have coerced her into the first skip somehow, but I'm happier she bought into it on her own.

    Best of luck,
    --S.F.


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    I had done one skip in grade 3-5. With a group and socially that worked. I think it is easier to merge and I am totally pro-skip. My kid could have left her school and gone back to public and gone from 7-9, she has a Sept bday. But she didn't want to leave her school. Academically her school is accelerated, hence, the ability to do the skip seamlessly. But in hindsight, I am glad she didn't want to do the skip. One, her school is very challenging. They go an hour longer per day than public and have a larger course load. But I am finding the social stuff going on now is pretty aggressive. Her school has 2 levels of testing to get in, so you have a certain type of kid. In public schools the sex and drinking/drugs start in 7th grade for many, it started in 9th for DD's school. And it is about 25% of the kids compared to many of the kids in 8th grade public -- even in this nice neighborhood and gifted classes--experimenting with opioids. I was shocked also. In Ontario, parents do not have to be notified if a kid has an abortion and the nurse practioner told me that many of the 9th grade kids are coming in for abortions. This is a very different environment than what I grew up in. I find that the social pressures and all kids have hormones and like someone, are way different. Negotiating puberty and the stuff that changes overnight might be harder for full grade skips. I think you have to be a very involved parent through the grades 7-10 if your kid is skipping. DD just did math acceleration through CTY for challenge and Chinese on the side. And had extracurriculars to keep her busy. As I said, from my experience, totally proskip. Now, with the social/risky behavior prevalence out there, I am more hesitant. And never assume "not my kid". DD's school is all HG kids.


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